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California Relay Service: STS (Speech-to-Speech)

California Relay Service: STS (Speech-to-Speech)

Speech-to-Speech (STS) is especially useful for people who have difficulty speaking or being understood on the telephone. STS involves specially trained Communication Assistants (CA) who are familiar with the speech patterns of a wide variety of individuals who have difficulty being understood.

Placing Calls

  1. Dial 711 or the toll-free STS number for your state.
  2. Provide the STS CA the number you wish to call, plus any special instructions.
  3. The CA will ask the person you are calling if he/she is familiar with STS. If the person is not, the CA will explain how STS works before the conversation begins.
  4. The CA will repeat your part of the conversation, in short phrases, unless you request otherwise. The CA will work closely with you to ensure your entire conversation is understood.
  5. Say “Go Ahead” or “GA” each time you are finished speaking and are ready for a response. The conversation will proceed in this manner until the call is complete.
  6. To end your call, say “GA to SK” or simply say “Goodbye.”

Placing Calls with Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS)

Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS) involves the use of a live video connection between the CA and the VA STS user. Utilizing a webcam and computer with Skype™, the CA is able to see the VA STS user’s mouth movements, facial expressions and gestures as they are speaking. The CA uses these visual cues to assist in better understanding the VA STS user’s side of the conversation.

  1. Dial the toll-free Speech-to-Speech number for your state.
  2. Using Skype, the CA establishes a video connection with the VA STS user.
  3. The VA STS user gives the CA the number to dial, and any specific call handling instructions.
  4. The CA dials the requested number and facilitates the conversation.

Helpful Tips

  • Establish a Customer Profile to store helpful information about your calls. This will allow the CA to process your calls more efficiently.
  • Give the CA as much information as possible about your call prior to the CA dialing. For example, if you know you are calling an automated system that requires you to select from a number of options, let the CA know which options you want before the call is placed.
  • If you reach an answering machine, the CA will request and verify your full message and then call back to leave that message.
  • It is helpful if you pause while the CA repeats your part of the conversation.
  • You or the person you are calling may request that the CA remain in the background. If you need the CA to assist at any time during the call, you must request the CA to do so. This is especially helpful when calling family, friends or others who are familiar with your speech.
  • There is no time limit and you may make as many consecutive calls as you want. You should not be concerned with the length of time a call may take.
  • You may request a male or female CA and as long as one is available, your request will be honored.

Speech-to-Speech (STS) User Training Line

Hamilton Relay’s Speech-to-Speech (STS) User Training Line is a resource for individuals, businesses, families and communities so they may familiarize themselves with the proper etiquette and standard procedures of using STS. In order to utilize the training line, individuals must reside in or use the service where a resident resides in a state that supports the STS User Training Line.

On the STS User Training Line, representatives are prepared to:

  • Describe how STS calls are placed and explain what to expect during a typical STS call.
  • Explain call handling instructions including dictated messages, privacy options, and “first thoughts” (information shared with the CA before dialing).
  • Explain strategies used to help clarify speech patterns.
  • Review and establish Customer Profile options.
  • Place practice calls.

The STS User Training Line is available 24/7 in California, Louisiana, Montana and Virginia, and can be reached by contacting the Customer Care Department.

To chat with a Hamilton Customer Care Representative, please complete the form below.

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